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THE GLACIERS AND GLACIATION OF PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND AND THE LOWER COPPER RIVER
LOCATION AND GENEBAL VIEW
The region of Prince William Sound and the lower Copper River is a little more than £00 miles west of Yakutat Bay and chiefly on the southern slope of the Chugach Mountains, an extension of the St. Elks Range. This part of the Chugach Mountains is from 60 to 75 miles wide and between six and eight thousand feet high, with a few loftier peaks, the highest of which, Florence Peak and Mt. Gilbert, reach elevations of 11,190 and 10,194 feet respectively. There is the same west northwest—east southeast trend as near Yakutat Bay and Mt. St. Elias, but, at the northwestern corner of Prince William Sound, the Chugach Mountains swing westward and come to an end. Thence the Kenai Mountains trend southward, forming the western side of Prince William Sound.
The Chugach Mountains are crossed by the canyon of Copper River, the greatest glacial stream in Alaska and one of the few rivers that completely cross the coast range. At its mouth it has built a great delta over 25 miles wide, a broad tract of low-lying coast, but west of the Copper River delta the mountains come down directly to the sea, and just here Prince William Sound penetrates the coast.
Prince William Sound (PI. XCIII) extends about 80 miles east and west and about 50 miles north and south, and has numerous long bays and fiords extending even more deeply into the mountains. It is 80 or 90 miles from the head of ocean steamship navigation at the end of the Port Valdez fiord out to the coast where Hinchinbrook and Montague Islands guard the mouth of Prince William Sound from the open Pacific. It has a very irregular coast with long peninsulas reaching forward, between which bays and fiords extend back into the mountains. On the eastern side are Orca Inlet, Orca Bay, Port Gravina, Port Fidalgo, and Valdez Arm—Port Valdez. These are fiords from 12 to SO miles long with mountainous peninsulas between, Hawkins and Hinchinbrook Islands correspond to these peninsulas but have been cut off by submergence or ice erosion. Besides these there are numerous small islands.
On the northern side of Prince William Sound are Columbia Bay, Long Bay, Wells Bay, Unakwik Inlet, Passage Canal, Port Wells and several smaller fiords. College Fiord and Harriman Fiord are tributaries of Port Wells. All these fiords are separated by long peninsulas and by islands, of whiph Glacier and Esther Islands are the largest.
On the western side of Prince William Sound south of Passage Canal are Port Nellie Juan and Icy Bay, separated by peninsulas and guarded by Knight, Latouche, Naked, and several other large islands and many smaller ones.
The lower Copper River is entirely in the mountains except for the broad delta at